Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
Striking doctors and nurses are set to resume work after Government agreed to address some of their concerns following a two- day meeting between the parties that ended on Friday.
The meeting was convened by Government after the health personnel went on strike two weeks ago, disrupting service delivery at public health institutions.
The meeting was held by representatives from Government, the Health Services Bipartite Negotiating Panel (HSBNP) and the workers.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Gerald Gwinji confirmed that the talks were held.
The meeting was concluded amicably and a number of positions were reached during the bipartite negotiations around issues of the on-call allowances, which will be adjusted together with the night duty allowances,” he said.
“So, technically, we can say they agreed to go back to work since they put pen to paper on the agreement.”
According to the agreement signed by the Government, the HSBNP and workers, the on-call allowances would be increased from $288 per month to $360.
“The HSNBP agreed that the base figure for the on-call allowance be reviewed from the current $288 per month to $360 per month with effect from 1 April 2017,” reads the agreement.
“The other rates will be reviewed proportionally. The meeting also noted that when the fiscal space becomes available the allowance will be reviewed.”
The meeting also agreed to increase night duty allowance from $50 to $65 on a sliding scale up to $91 effective April 1.
“The panel noted that Duty Free Scheme shall be replaced with an Employer Assisted Car Loan Scheme,” the agreements reads. “The Bipartite should convene at the earliest opportunity to design an implementation framework for consideration and adoption by Government before 30 May 2017.”
The parties also agreed that the re-grading of personnel will be recommenced from April 1.
They also agreed on the creation of the 250 posts for doctors and 2 000 posts for nurses.
The meeting agreed to review rentals at Government owned properties, taking into account affordability.
The parties acknowledged that the manner in which the health personnel embarked on their industrial action was illegal, but agreed that the workers’ leadership would not face any disciplinary action.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association of Zimbabwe president Dr Edgar Munatsi said they were consulting their membership on the way forward.